Sunday, 24 March 2013

What is Piety, revisited.

What is Piety revisited


Earlier in my blog I mentioned that Piety is smallness before God. It is realising your dependence on HIM, becoming fully aware of the frailty that is Life!

In other respects it is DOUBT!

Our Nations Sidiq, Abu Bakr (ra) makes that clear. The man who had no doubt, the one who said when he was told that Muhammad (saw) had ascended the heavens in one night.. "If he says it, then it is TRUE!" .

That was the man, who on his being made the Successor if Muhammad (saw) after he had passed away, said in his inauguration speech... "I am not the best amongst you!".

He doubted!

He did not doubt the truth of Muhammad (saw), nor of Islam... but he doubted!

What did he DOUBT? He doubted himself! AND that is true PIETY!

After he had become the leader of the Muslims, he was spotted going to the Market to earn his, and his family's, living. Umar (ra) told him that he should take a stipend from the treasury, because the leader of the Muslims cannot go to the market!

Abu Bakr as-Sidiq (ra) eventually agreed and did so. But he continually doubted himself! He asked several notable companions, amongst them Ali (ra), whether or not the stipend was too weighty or much! And only after they had all given him their opinions in favour of it, did he concede. And yet the doubt remained and he was never really truly at ease. That is PIETY.

It is reflected not just in how you approach GOD, but in how you deal with your fellow man!

The man who had no doubt about GOD and His Messenger, doubted himself and that stands him out to be amongst the truly Pious...

IN Contrast the Khawarij... they prayed until their beards were wet with tears. But they thought themselves better than the companions and they never doubted themselves!

STRENGTH...."Never let your morals get in the way of Doing what's Right!"

I have thought on this English saying and I can only find one instance in which it might be said to hold true. And that is when you are faced with a situation where an animal is suffering and you are in a position to end that suffering. For me morals are principles, and principles should always be upheld!

For me... it makes more sense to say "Never let your PIETY get in the way of doing what's RIGHT!" This for me rings more true! For piety is smallness before God, and humility before man. But that should not stop you from doing what is right. And it didn't stop Abu Bakr As-Sadiq (ra) from fighting the Ridaa Wars.

When it was necessary to be Strong... He was strong and fearless!

However there is vital difference between him and his attitude and our leaders! Have you ever seen TB or GB when they meet the people with whom they don't agree. You can see the scorn on their faces. When the anti-war protesters marched, they did not listen but rather gave the refrain "We have a mandate!"... derision!

When the rebels, who sought to fight the Muslims, re-entered Islam and came before Abu Bakr (ra)... How did he treat them? He treated them with all respect, and kindness and thought the best of them!

He bestowed honour and presents upon those who initially fought against him. And only when they proved the worst (as happened on one case) did he judge them based on their worst!

Piety... even when you have to be strong and fearless, is to think the best of people! And to think as Abu Bakr (ra) said in his inaugural speech.. "I am not the best amongst you!". And this is one of the lessons that Jesus (Nabi Isa (ra)) was sent to teach mankind.. "every man who puts himself up as somebody, will become a nobody!"

To augur ILL?

When Muhammad (saw), and for that matter all Prophets, was sent to Qur'aish they suffered the drought. Allah t'ala made it so, so that their hearts might open to HIS message. That they might feel vulnerable and remember HIM. But as with the man mentioned in S. Fajr, they augured ill of Muhammad (and all the Prophets). This is contrary to belief!

A believing man augurs well even during hard times. Just as the Muhammad's (saw) companions augured well of the battle of the trench, when they had no food and were hard pressed in the defense of Medina... "This is what God has promised!". May Allah t'ala bless them, who showed us the qualities of belief!


It is this attitude that we find in the believer, that we found in Muhammad (saw) and in his successor Abu Bakr (as), to think the best of the people and to augur only good from them (unless they prove it false), that destroys steriotypes. It is the lesson of all four of the rightly guided Caliphs, to think the best of the people and to carry your faith in God to the limits that are demanded.

And this is the rational attitude that I mentioned in my blog on Conspiracy Theories.. the Diana Conspiracies. Take and think the best of what everyone has to offer, and if you have to argue (from a discussion point of view) then argue to the best of what they have to offer. Do not assume the worst of any man!

The Relevance to Me!

As I said in my previous blog.... the issues of Piety and the Khawarij, are a source of constant deliberation for me. Who they were, why they were and what they were?

But when I forget about the World and focus on my brothers in the religion, I find that they do not think as much as they should on those issues. For them piety is a book, or a prayer?

They do not doubt themselves, nor do they think good of the people (other than those that resemble them), and they sometimes augur ill.

I remember when I posted some thoughts on another website, trying to make Muslims think... they augured ill of me, thought badly of me and did not doubt themselves!

1st postedMySpace 12th Nov 2007.

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